Saturday, May 14, 2022

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review - May 14 & 19, 2022

 

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Breeze
Sailing:  May 14-22, 2022
Captain:  Isidoro Renda    Cruise Director: Cookie
Ports: Galveston- Cozumel, Mexico (2) - Costa Maya, Mexico - Galveston

I am sailing another B2B on my favorite Carnival Ship. This is my 16th &17th cruises on the Carnival Breeze, my 99th and 100th Carnival cruises, and my 180th &181st cruises overall.  I am sailing as a solo.

Day One -- Saturday --  May 14th, 2022 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation
The day began early on Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up early and finished packing and hit the road south at about 4:45 am as Carnival moved up arrival times an hour for all guests…so my time was moved from 10:00 am to 9:00 am.  One-stop at Love’s in Hearne, TX then straight through to EZ Cruise Parking arriving about 9:05 am. Glad I made reservations as they were full as the Vista was also on turnaround day today. I parked and walked over to Terminal Two and it was still very busy with debarkation guests. I love the look of the newly painted livery on the Breeze, I'll post a photo once we are in a port. I made my way to the entry and surprisingly they were boarding at that earlier hour. I was through Security and Check-in and seated at about 9:45 in the waiting area with only a short wait for a 10:15 am boarding. I rolled my bags with me as I always do and dropped them at my cabin by 10:25 am. Relatively easy process. Sweet. I then went to have a very nice early Mongolian Wok Stir-fry lunch by 10:30am. Sweet again. (photo right) Muster drill was next that took all of 10 minutes at Muster Station B-4 in the Blush Dining Room. I then sat out on deck 11 until cabins were officially opened…then set up my cabin. I did have a nice nap after they stopped with the muster announcements from 4:00-to 6:00. I had cabin time then went up to the Lido Marketplace for dinner. I had the Breaded Shrimp and a salad… a very nice dinner. Early evenings are nice on deck, I enjoyed the sunset and the view of the Carnival Vista following us.  I went to the Casino and played my $25 free play, didn't do that well but came back with $5 in real chips...I'll try again next cruise. I went to the Alchemy Bar  about 8:30 and met old and new friends and enjoyed seeing the Alchemy team. Anca and Ivana are two of my very favorites and met Alexandra from Serbia. Ivana prepared a very nice cocktail for me with Absinthe. It was very good. The new to me Breeze Rock Band performed tonight and was very good. It will be hard to duplicate the previous one but we’ll see. I retired to the cabin after their first set and my first cocktail. Some work to do before sleep. It was a long but very sweet embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.
  
Day Two -- Sunday --  May 15th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up early. I don’t have a balcony this cruise so I keep the TV on the forward ship camera so I know when the sun rises…the music is nice too. The internet is really slow this morning, I hope it improves. I’m on my only two meals a day plan so no breakfast this morning. I did some work online and updated this blog. At 11:00 am I went to the Diamond Party in the Limelight Lounge. I saw several good friends there including some kin, Joe & Ola McDonald, it’s always good to catch up with them, I think Joe is on board for 3+ months this stretch. The two Bloody Mary’s held me until lunchtime. About noon I went to Cucina de Capitano and had a small Caesar Salad, Bread, and two nice Pasta Bowls. I like the Tomato Basil Sauce with Penne and the Bolognese with Linguini. It was very good. I enjoyed a nice walkabout on the outer decks in the perfect weather then retired to the cabin for a nice long nap. No MDR for me on this elegant night, I went to the Lido Marketplace for some Prime Rib from the Carving Station. Then I enjoyed the aft deck to watch the wake and the nice sunset. Interesting people-watching too. I then went to Alchemy Bar to see the new Breeze Rock Band in Ocean Plaza (photo). I was able to get a seat with a friend. I had the same absinthe cocktail that Ivana prepared the previous night. It was a fun evening, the band play 80s Music including one of my favorite Torch Songs: At Last, the classic Etta James tune. I saw so many friends including my Bosque County neighbor, a Tarrant County friend I have known for 40 years, Cruise Director Cookie, and several others. Since I was fresh from a nice afternoon nap I stayed through 2+ sets of the Band and another cocktail, but I wanted to go to the outer deck to see the eclipse of the full moon. The eclipse was pretty spectacular at sea, probably looked good from Bosque County too. I then retired to the cabin, it was a FUN and interesting day on the Carnival Breeze.  

Day Three -- Monday --  May 16th, 2022 -- Costa Maya Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I went to the Lido Marketplace and the Omelet Station as it’s just above my aft cabin location and easy at an early hour. I had a nice Western Omelet with a side of bacon, potatoes, and mixed fruits. It wasn’t special, but adequate. We don’t arrive at port until 1:00 pm so I returned to the cabin for some internet time as the WiFi is much improved. Inspired by the torch music last night I played my personal music on the travel JBL while working. I went up on deck to watch our arrival at the port, the Carnival Ecstasy was docked as well and also had a late arrival. It’s already in the mid 90° degree range so I’m not planning on getting off today. I had a nice stir-fry from the Mongolian Wok before it closed at 2:00 pm then went to the cabin for a movie, then a very nice nap, I have been getting some rest so far this cruise, the interior cabin helps. I went up on deck 10 aft for our late sail away, it was after sunset by the time we sailed so an evening sail away was different. I had discovered an interesting cocktail recipe when confirming the spelling of absinthe on google for this blog, so I saved it to my phone and took it to the Alchemy Bar tonight. It had two of my favorite ingredients: Absinthe and Elderflower, so I was anxious to try it. The beautiful Alchemist Anca recognized the potential, especially for me, and did a great job. Just basic ingredients: Absinthe, Elderflower, Pineapple juice, Lemon & Lime. Sweeter than most Absinthe drinks and the pineapple neutralized that anise taste in the Absinthe. It was great, but as with all Absinthe drinks best in moderation. Perfect for an alternative or to alternate. The Breeze Band was off tonight but the soloist Scott Lucille on the Ocean Plaza stage was good. After visiting with friends I retired to the cabin and ordered a Room Service BLT sandwich. They have made a change now using Turkey Bacon, but they are still one of the best food items on the ship. I had not had one in a while so I enjoined them. I watched a late TCM movie before sleep. It was a nice relaxing day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Four -- Tuesday --  May 17th, 2022 -- Cozumel Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was up at about 6:30 am and updated this blog while waiting to arrive at Puerto Costa Maya in Cozumel. About 8:30 I began my journey to Del Mar Latino the beach club located about a half-mile (total) walk south from the ship. I like the ease of getting there with no taxi involved. I started with diet Coca-Cola then changed to Mojitos after my early lunch or breakfast for me. The Guacamole with Pico de Gallo is good as are the quesadillas. I did take a nice swim in the water as well as several times in the pool, it was refreshing in the 90°+ weather. The Coconut Shrimp was excellent and I had coconut ice creme as well. The mojitos were plentiful and good. The place cleared by 2:30 pm so I had it to myself for an hour. Sweet. I had my share of Mojitos and even took a roadie for my walk back to Puerto Maya Pier. Had my photo taken at the Cozumel sign across from the Park Royal Resort. Terry & I stayed there 40 years ago on our first trip together to Cozumel… which was well before cruise ships called there…so different now. I wanted to go to Cozumel because of the 1980s movie Against All Odds and we stayed about two weeks, we loved the island, it was a more intimate and remote place then. I was back on the ship by 4:00 pm. and cleaned up and recall sailaway, but I put my head on the pillow and was soon asleep. I woke in time to get dinner from the Marketplace Buffet, I had a little sample of several items (I think I was asleep and didn’t know what I wanted): Penne Pasta Bolognese, BBQ Pork SpareRibs, Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheese Pie, Crusted Chicken, Coleslaw, Baked Potato, and a small salad. I took watermelon and cookies back to the cabin. I updated this blog and communicated with the Ranch to check our moving status before listening to music and retiring. It was a fun and nostalgic port day in Cozumel.
 
Day Five -- Wednesday --  May 18th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well and it’s a beautiful clear day. The good news for today is that vaccinated B2B cruisers no longer have to have an antigen rapid before their second cruise. They did a good job with it on this ship in the past, but no test on this final sea day is better. I had a big proper breakfast this morning, I went to the Sea Day Brunch. I ordered: Bloody Mary, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, Steak & Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, and French Toast. All very good. I went to Pixels to get my gift, another drink koozie, and a pin. A lot of guests are out and about enjoying their last day onboard the ship. At 11:30 they had the Platinum and Diamond Party in the Ovation Theater, there were a lot of guests, but not that many Diamonds. I was actually on stage with the other McDonalds: Joe & Ola (photo right). Between the three of us, there are 4000 days sailed. The vast majority by the two of them. I enjoyed a good Bloody Mary (not from the pre-made on the tray) and a Pilsner Urquell. I have grown from quantity to quality on my complimentary drinks. Afterward, I just enjoyed the ship and visited with friends. About 3:00 pm I had my first Guy’s Burgers of the cruise. Always a popular place even at an unusual time. It was then Cabin time for a wee nap. I went up to the Lido Marketplace at about 7:30 for a light dinner with a small Carrot Cake and Watermelon for sweets. I sat on the aft deck through sundown and after dark just enjoying the aft view and sea. We are already well within the large Oil Rigs off the Texas coast. I retired early to the cabin, but while most guests are packing I have another four days. It was a restful sea day at sea on the Carnival Breeze.
 
 Day One of 2nd Cruise — Thursday --  May 19th, 2022 -- Port of Galveston 
Center of Tuesdays Cozumel photo
This is the beginning of the 2nd leg of B2B. They are expecting over 3700+ for this 4-day cruise, a full ship at double capacity. Smooth seas overnight and I was up by 6:00 am as we were sailing into Galveston. I have the same cabin so no moving this morning. I went very early to the MDR for breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Avocado Toast, Bacon, Hash-brown Potatoes, Tomato Juice & hot Milk. The B2B instructions said to be in Sapphire MDR at 7:45, obviously too early, just finishing breakfast, but I did go down there about 8:45 still too early but I knew friends would be there and I’d have WiFi. I checked in with the Ranch, visited, had the new photo taken, received new S&S cards, then finally went through customs at about 10:15 am. They did the Champagne and Photo so things are getting normalized. We had the ship for 45 minutes as they didn’t board guests until 11:00 am. I went to the Mongolian Grill by 11:00 am for a fantastic Stir-fry bowl. Next was the Muster/safety drill in the Blush MDR on deck 3…quick and easy. Embarkation day check-list is complete. I went up on deck 11 to watch sail away, it is a hot 92° day, but a breeze on the Starboard side. The new Royal Caribbean Terminal is coming along nicely…the exterior seems to be near complete. I went to the Alchemy Bar for a few cocktails and saw friends from past cruises. Always fun at Alchemy. I went to the Sapphire Dining Room for dinner tonight. I ordered the Mixed Green Salad, Roasted Tomato Soup, Nonna’s Dish, and the Braised Beef Brisket with a Fruit plate for dessert. It was average at the best, The Nonna’s Dish was the Cucina del Capitano item, it sounded wonderful on the menu, but it was nothing like what was served at Cucina. It was the worst item served, it wasn’t as good as the Penne Pasta they always serve at the Lido Marketplace. I retired to the cabin by 9:00 pm for a movie and rest. It was a very nice embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.
 
Day Two of 2nd Cruise — Friday --  May 20th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Rolling seas overnight, much more movement than any day last cruise, and I slept very well. I was up early as usual and updated this blog and use the WiFi before it gets busy and slowed down. I went to the Blue Iguana before it closed at 10:00 for my favorite breakfast on Carnival: Huevos Rancheros with two fresh fried eggs, Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Arepas, and Watermelon (photo). It was very good and my first time eating there on this cruise. I sat on deck 11 enjoying the weather and activity on the pool deck until the DJ started…I guess I’m getting old as the music was too loud for me…of course, I was directly in front of the speakers being on deck 11 and the Seaview Theater system. I went on a walkabout this afternoon and also picked up my $25 Free-play at the casino. I saved it until I was on deck 4 and the non-smoking casino…I had much better luck today…I came away with $75 in real chips so I’m up $80 for the two cruises. I’ll carry it on to the next cruise as I did last year when I started on the Breeze. I also visited Cherry on Top and bought some assorted candy. I watched two movies and then watched the OU Softball team's first game in the NCAA Championship. During this time I decide to order Room Service and enjoyed a Turkey Sandwich and a Turkey BLT. They were excellent. A walkabout before sundown as usual But I let time getaway and didn’t go by Alchemy or eat so I ended up ordering a Ruben Sandwich from room service since I enjoyed the other two so much, the same girl delivered it too…I guess I seemed a bit of a hermit to her this afternoon and evening. The Ruben was as good as the earlier sandwiches. It was a very restful sea day on the Carnival Breeze.


Day Three of 2nd Cruise — Saturday -- May 21st, 2022 -- Cozumel, Mexico 

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea overnight but I slept very well. I woke about 6:00ish as usual and about 9:00ish we were arriving in Cozumel…the Ecstasy docked just before us at Puerto Maya pier. The weather looks like rain today. About 9:45 am I had breakfast in the Lido Marketplace while the early guests were leaving the ship. About 10:15 am I left the ship and met with friends at the pier and we shared a taxi into San Miguel. We visited at Woody’s Bar and Grill until noon and then I was off to do my thing. The first stop was the Zensi Spa for a Pedicure then Antonio's Barber Shop for a haircut. When I got back to Woody’s I enjoyed my Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, Chips, and several Bohemia Clara Cerveza. I was able to follow the OU Sooners softball playoff game online and since the Mardi Gras Festival was moved from February to this weekend I watched the Youth parade (photo) in the afternoon. Wish I could see the big parade tonight, but that will have to be another time. I took a taxi back (160 pesos) to Puerto Maya pier and the ship at about 4:00 pm. After a clean-up, I went early to the Alchemy Bar and visited with friends. I brought some black licorice that Anca used in preparing my Absinthe cocktail, it was very good. I went to the Lido Marketplace for another of a ‘little of this and a little of that’ dinner. I did take cookies back to the cabin for late-night munchies. Very few guests out and about this evening, probably a combination of Cozumel activities and the high seas ever since we departed. Another movie and cookies before sleep. It was a great port day in Cozumel.
 
Day Four of 2nd Cruise — Sunday -- May 22nd, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico and experienced a thunderstorm overnight…but I slept well. I was awake early as usual so updated this blog and reviewed the late college softball scores. OU will play today for Regional Championship. About 10:00 am I went to the Sea Day Brunch in the Blush Dining Room I had a great share table with two nice couples, one of which are big Sooner softball fans. Breakfast was great, I ordered: Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, Steak & Eggs, Hash Browns, Bacon, Ham, and French Toast. Service by I Made and Ary was excellent. It’s very cloudy weather so most guests are indoors this morning. Difficult to stream the softball game in the deteriorating weather but I was able to follow it play-by-play on Game Tracker. Oklahoma 20 TX A&M 0 so OU is in the Super Regional (Sweet 16) tournament. I went to the Alchemy Bar and it was packed early in the day…the Red Frog had more guests than an embark Happy Hour…basically, all indoor venues are busy. Kudos to the Entertainment Director for starting entertainment as early as he could. I have always thought that they should have sea day entertainment, Trivia Games just doesn’t cover it. The numerous Soloists or even a Comedian doing a matinĂ©e would be wonderful…IMHO. I was lucky to get a Guy’s Burger as it was closing and I helped myself to a plate of cookies to take back to the cabin. I’m doing movie night again and resting up for the work I will be starting tomorrow afternoon packing up for the move to Florida. My meeting time for debarkation in the morning is 7:15 am. I updated this blog and as promised a photo of the new livery on the Breeze taken by my friend in Cozumel on Saturday...looks good. It was a rainy and cloudy final day on the Carnival Breeze.
 

Debarkation — Monday -- May 23rd, 2022 -- Port of Galveston

Smooth seas overnight. I woke early and had plenty of time to update this blog and finish packing. I went up to the Lido Marketplace early and had a nice omelet, bacon, ham, and grapefruit…it was very good. Nice final breakfast onboard the ship. I then finalized my packing and went to the Diamond meet area at 7:15 am. We began to debark by 8:00 am and I was among the first off the ship. I did the easy walk to the EZ Cruise parking lot. I was off the island by 8:30 am and at the Ranch at 12:30 pm. That included a stop at Love’s in Hearne for Fuel ($4.25 gal) and Bush’s Chicken in Clifton. A good debarkation and travel morning for sure.

 
 
Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Both Cozumel Port Days
Alchemy Bar and the lovely & talented Alchenists
Mongolian Wok
Room Service Food
Diamond Party

 

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Carnival Vista Cruise Review - April 23, 2022

 

                                                               Carnival Vista Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Vista, first of Vista Class ships - 133,500 gross tons - 3900 passenger capacity
Sailing:  April 23rd to April 30th, 2022
Captain: Rosario Arena - Cruise Director: Kyndall Fire
Ports: Galveston - Mahogany Bay, Roatan Island, Honduras - Belize, Central America  -  Cozumel, Mexico - Galveston

This is my 5th time to cruise on the Carnival Vista, my 98th Carnival cruise, and my 179th cruise overall.  I am sailing as a solo guest.

Day One -- Saturday --  April 23rd, 2022 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation 
The day began at Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up early but have a later boarding time so left the Ranch at about 6:45 am for the drive to Galveston. I have to say I am spoiled by driving and sailing from Florida. Not only is Galveston a long drive, but It was also especially difficult today with traffic backed up due to an equipment convoy and I-45 completely shutdown around Dickinson, TX. I didn’t arrive at EZ Cruise Parking until noon. It was busy at EZ with two ships and late arrivals so I walked to the cruise terminal…it is very easy to do. It went fairly well at the terminal check-in, the VeriFly app helped and I was dropping off my roll-on duffle at the cabin at about 12:45 PM. The cabin was not ready so I went up to JiJi’s for two bowls of wonderful Mongolian stir-fry with both Chicken & Beef with my favorite Vegetables. It was really good as were the Won-Tons and Asian Spring Salad.  All the cabins opened to guests at 1:30 pm so I returned and set up my cabin for the week. I then went to my Muster Station, located in the Casino for a very easy safety briefing although one crew member from the Casino Dept. was the rudest crew member I have ever encountered, she needs some help with guests relations. I went by the Red Frog Pub, but no embarkation Happy Hour…disappointing. I did go to the Lido Marketplace for a piece of Peanut Butter S’mores Cake, it was interestingly good. Sail away was delayed, I suspect it was because so many guests had trouble getting on the island due to the I-45 road closures. Since Muster Drill announcements had ceased by 4:30 pm it was a good time for a nap as I have no plans this evening other than a visit to the Alchemy Bar. My interior cabin on deck 11 is great for napping…so good that I didn’t wake until 1:15 am. Well, I needed the rest and amazingly I fell back asleep until 7:15 am. I had 14+ hours of peaceful rest. I had just a few days earlier driven 18 hours from Florida to Texas and also jumped into some projects on the Ranch so this cruise will be R&R for me. It was an interesting then restful embarkation day.
 
Day Two -- Sunday --  April 24th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight contributed to my restful sleep. I was ready to eat when I woke so went to the Sea Day Brunch at about 8:30 am. I ordered Steak & Eggs, French Toast, Danish, Hash Browns, Bacon, Hot Milk, and a Bloody Mary. It was very good. I did a walkabout the ship picking up my Diamond gifts at Pixels then to the Casino to get my $25 free play. This is a special Casino cruise so it was already busy, I placed my bet on Red at Roulette and got Black...oh well it was free play. On the elevator, a Diamond mentioned something to me about the Diamond Luncheon and I assumed he meant tomorrow as we have two sea days before our first port. I did call Guest Services and made a query, she put me on hold and then said the Diamond Luncheon started 15 minutes ago. I asked why I didn't get my invitation and she said I had a do not disturb sign on my cabin. Well, I was asleep, but I did not put out any signs...and the Vista has mailboxes outside the cabin doors. It could have been placed in the mailbox, under the door, or delivered today. I'm not pleased...unlike the Casino guests who have several perks (and back-doored into Diamond), I'm a full fare paying loyal guest who has missed out on my primary perk. Not sure why I didn't get it but I will be asking for an explanation. I spent some time on deck 10 aft and had my dinner from the Lido Marketplace out there as well. I really enjoy watching the sunset from a cruise ship. Perhaps my favorite thing about sailing. I did something I rarely do, I watched a movie at the Seaside Theater. I’m on deck 11 so it’s convenient to watch from there. Tonight it was American Hero, a movie about Kurt Warner the football player. I retired to the cabin to update this blog and read about the Oklahoma Sooners Spring football scrimmage, impressed with the 76,360 attendance, I think there is something special with this team. It was a good first sea day on the Carnival Vista.
 
Day Three -- Monday --  April 25th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea
Rolling seas overnight as we enter the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico. Beautiful weather so guests are staking out their locations on the outer decks. About 10:00 am I went down to the Blue Iguana for breakfast. I had Arepas, Huevos Rancheros with two fried eggs, Watermelon, and various salsas. It was good and it was busy, with more guests eating at Blue Iguana on Texas-based cruises than on Florida-based cruises. I did visit Guest Services about my Diamond invitation snafu. I just don’t want it happening to my clients or other Diamond guests…if you don’t make contact at least leave the invitation in the mailbox, don’t take it back to Housekeeping or Guest Services. I relaxed on deck or in the cabin most of the day. I did have a Guy’s Burger and fries at about 2:00 pm and enjoyed the sea air on the Lido deck. I made my first trip to the Alchemy Bar this evening, I knew the two Alchemists Caterina and Dajana from previous Vista and Mardi Gras cruises. I enjoyed two cocktails and visited with guests until time for dinner. Tonight I’m eating in Cucina de Capitano on deck 11. I ordered my favorite Cucina items: Arancini, Nona’s Meatballs, a Salad, the wonderful Grande Braciola Di Maiale (Tomahawk Pork Chop) entree, with spaghetti and Gnocchi sides. It was excellent and the Chop was Grande. After dinner, I walked outside on deck 11 and retired to the cabin. I did watch a TCM movie before sleeping. It was another very restful day on the Carnival Vista.
 
Day Four -- Tuesday --  April 26th, 2022 -- Roatan Island Honduras - Mahogany Bay
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. This interior cruise cabin is great for sleeping…it stays very cool throughout the night…in fact cold, no fans are needed here. I slept late so wanted a light breakfast, I had Bacon and assorted fruit in the Lido. I stayed on the outer deck until the Mongolian Grill opened at noon. I had an excellent Mongolian Stir-fry lunch. Healthier too. I spent the afternoon on deck 15 at the Serenity Deck. It’s a large space forward that has a lot of clam-shell Loungers, two Hot tubs, a Bar, and more, only the Mardi Gras has a larger Serenity. We sail away at 6:00 but no need to rush back aboard as Guy’s Burgers is open until 10:00 pm. I like that option. I went to the Alchemy Bar for Cocktails and Dajana prepared another nice absinthe cocktail, A young man sat next to me and asked for a cocktail from a menu he had, it turned out to be an absinthe drink, Phoenix Down. Others began ordering it and also Quick Fixes from the menu...very unusual, but quite interesting. I had a very late dinner in the MDR, the Your Time is open until 9:30 pm and I was there about 8:45, not busy at all. I'm no longer keen on the MDR, but it was what I call Linguine night and it is a menu I like. I ordered the Iceberg lettuce Salad, the Baked Meatballs and Linguine combined, and the Tenderloin entree with Bitter & Blanc for dessert. It was very good tonight, especially the Tenderloin and dessert. I retire soon afterward. It was an enjoyable evening on the Carnival Vista.
 
Day Five -- Wednesday -- April 27th, 2022 -- Belize, CA 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. It’s an overcast morning in Belize, but guests are going ashore on the water taxi. I went to breakfast at Blue Iguana and had my usual Huevos, Eggs, Arepas, & Watermelon, yes a line again this morning, a popular choice. I stayed out on deck the rest of the morning, my plan was to go ashore and have lunch on Bird Island as I did on my previous visit, but it began raining so not doing it. I ended up having a nice BLT sandwich and french fries from the Deli in the Marketplace. I alternated between outside on deck 11 and cabin time during the afternoon rains. I went to the Alchemy Bar at about 6:45 pm and then to watch the Jazz Set by the 
Vista Rock Band in the Ocean Plaza at 7:15…they were good. I then had dinner again in the Horizons Main Dining Room. Tonight I ordered the Spaghetti Carbonara, two Shrimp Cocktails, Four Season Salad, Filet Mignon entree, and Key Lime Mousse for dessert. It was very good with very good service, the same team I had the previous night. I then had time for the late feature production show: Amore Cubano in the Limelight Lounge (see photo). I had a great seat and enjoyed the colorful Latin show. A short walkabout the ship before retiring. It was a restful rainy day on the Carnival Vista.
 
Day Six -- Thursday --  April 28th, 2022 -- Cozumel Island, Mexico
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. The Vista arrived earlier than our 8:00 am schedule and were disembarking by 8:05 am. I went to the Marketplace for breakfast but took it to Blue Iguana to get proper salsa. I did book an all-inclusive day at Del Mar Latino so left the ship just before 9:00 am and walked the 15+ minutes to the resort. It was a really fantastic day. I arrive about 9:20 and found a nice lounger near the pool and bar. They had plenty of staff to take orders…I started with diet Coke, but soon changed to mojitos. The Pool was nice as was the steps into the Caribbean Sea. I had some Guacamole, Chips, Pico de gallo, and Cheese Quesodillos. I changed to a table mid-day as the sun changed. Very good WiFi so I was able to do some work. I did try their signature item: Coconut Shrimp, it was very good. I also had the Coconut ice-creme as a final dish. All the food is in small quantities, but I guess you can order more…the drinks were in 12 oz cups so adequate…the service was great. I did the walk back to Puerto Maya and I could see that the lines were very long as with a 3:30 pm back on board time, everyone came late. I waited at 3-Amigos timing my arrival back so no lines…so close to 4:00 pm. After an evening snack I decided to have Cabin / Movie time the rest of the evening. It was a FUN day in Cozumel.
 
Day Seven -- Friday --  April 29th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Smooth sailing again overnight and I slept well. I had breakfast at the Blue Iguana: Huevos with fresh fried eggs, Arepas, Salsa, & Watermelon. I spent the morning on deck 11 with a nice view of the Gulf. Very nice weather today too. I went for lunch at Cucina de Capitano: Bread, Cesar Salad, Linguini Bowl with Meat Sauce, and a Penne Pasta Bowl with Tomato Sauce. It was all great. I enjoyed it very much. I then did an afternoon walkabout on the outer decks, the weather is perfect so a lot of guests were in the pools and hot tubs, but did not seem overly crowded. I went up to the Serenity Deck, it’s large enough, but no pool. The Bar is nice, larger than on the Mardi Gras. Only one elevator to deck 15 forward so a bit hard to get to that deck. Cabin time the rest of the day. At about 3:30 pm the Captain announced that due to mechanical issues we are sailing at a reduced speed and will not arrive in Galveston until 11:00 am tomorrow…it happens on occasion. I went to the Platinum/Diamond party at 5:00 pm. It was the old-style party with plenty of bar servers and the Beer/Tito’s station. I sat as close as I could get to the Titos and Lemonade. Kyndall, the CD, did a great job of keeping things rolling and there was entertainment. I wish they would announce the top 5 cruisers as some CDs do, I wasn’t high but curious as to where I stood among the 160 total Diamonds. I did a walkabout the ship, stopped by Alchemy, it was busy, then went to the Marketplace for dinner. I had a Salad and a bowl of Breaded Shrimp, it was nice. I retired early even though we can sleep late tomorrow. It was a nice final day on the Carnival Vista.
 
 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review - April 4, 2022

Carnival Paradise Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Paradise,  Last of Fantasy Class, Launched Nov. 1998 @ 70,000 tons.
Sailing:  April 4-9, 2022 - 5 day cruise - Sailing out of Port of Tampa, Florida
Captain:          Cruise Director: Leilani Ross
Ports: Tampa, FL - Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands - Isla de Cozumel, Mexico - Tampa, FL

I am sailing as a solo guest. This is my 3rd cruise on the Carnival Paradise, my 97th Carnival cruise, and my 178th total cruise overall.

Day One -- Monday --  April 4th, 2022 -- Port of Tampa  — Embarkation  
This is another very easy embarkation day sailing from my new homeport of Tampa. I left the Villa in Meadow Oaks at 9:20 am and I was sitting in the terminal by 10:30 am. About a 50-minute drive, I parked directly across the street, rolled my one single bag to the ship, used VeriFly at check-in, and sitting in the terminal waiting for boarding by 11:00 am. Easy Peasy. I dropped my bag at the cabin and went up to the Lido Marketplace for lunch. I had a Reuben sandwich and a very nice salad from the self-serve Salad Bar (see photo). IMHO the Salad Bar was better than on the Mardi Gras. I returned to the cabin, an Upper/Lower on deck six. It’s big for one person with a lot of storage and I’m very glad I did not upgrade the cabin. I was greeted with a message on the mirror and a large towel animal alligator eating a small duck…interesting. I went to my Muster Station and checked in then did a tour of the ship. A walkabout doesn’t take as long on a Fantasy Class ship. I ended up at the Lobby Bar and enjoyed a Pilsner Urquell beer. Not sure the number of guests onboard as yet, but so much more comfortable than the recent over-full Mardi Gras cruises. Soon we sailed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. I have sailed under it more times (5) than I have driven over it (2). At 6:00 pm I went to the MDR for dinner. I was assigned a 10-top table and there were 9 at dinner, but there are few dining choices on this ship. Tonight I ordered both hot soups, the Roasted Tomato & Poblano Pepper, two Shrimp Cocktails, The fried Shrimp entree, and Tiramisu for dessert. I did a walkabout the ship picking up my Diamond gifts at Pixels and my bottled water from the Lobby Bar. I then retired to the cabin to watch a movie and follow the NCAA basketball finals. I needed rest from working on my garage conversion project the past few days.  It was an easy embark day on the Carnival Paradise.

Day Two -- Tuesday --  April 5th, 2022 -- Day at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well in my interior cabin. I updated this blog and did some online business before going up to the lido deck for an omelet. It was very good as was the bacon and watermelon. The outdoor grill area is one large space with Guy’s Burgers on one end and the Blue Iguana on the other…Omelet Station in between. Very convenient as I had salsa for my omelet. A quick visit to Guest Services for some small $ change and no line at all, I like the fewer number of guests on this sailing for the ease of movement, especially the elevators. I went to the casino for my $25 free play and was given $25 in cash…Sweet! and thank you Carnival. The Diamond event was held at 10:00 am in the Rotterdam Bar and reminded me of earlier years as there were only a dozen Diamonds and a few guests. The staff mingled and the bar service was very good. I had my fair share of Bloody Marys, bottled water, and some Pepsi’s for the cabin. The Hotel Director, Martin Fowler, as host, welcomed all and was informative. The Paradise was the last Carnival ship back in service since the shutdown and this is only their fifth cruise. They are also limiting guests to approximately 1200 or about 60% capacity. I enjoyed the little Diamond gathering very much. After a short walkabout it was back to the cabin for a very restful nap…almost a new record at 4+ hours…super! Tonight is elegant night, but I did Guy’s Burgers before they closed at 6:00 pm. Then a small dessert and watermelon on the aft deck. It’s a beautiful evening and a good time to be out and about as most guests are at dinner. I enjoyed a nice cocktail at the Rotterdam Bar then went to the 
’80’s Pop to the Max show in the theater. I had forgotten how large the theater and stage are on this ship. The set was just six stools on the stage and two feature singers and four others singing to a soundtrack. Hopefully, they will present the full show with a set and dancers soon. Entertaining, but not memorable. A nice walkabout the ship before retiring...There was Music in several locations as well as Comedy.  It was a fun and restful sea day on the Carnival Paradise.
 
Day Three -- Wednesday -- April 6th, 2022 -- Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up very early, but not planning on going ashore today. We were already anchored off of Grand Cayman by dawn and they began tendering by 7:30 am. The Carnival Vista and Sunrise are anchored as well. A smart guest would have an early excursion booked in order to get an early tender space although with fewer guests it should be fairly easy today. A beautiful day today so guests will be happy. I again had a very nice omelet with salsa and watermelon from Blue Iguana. About 10:30 am I took a tender to shore just to walk for exercise, I walked an hour + then returned to the ship. Grand Cayman did not fare well from the decision to close to cruise ships. for so long. The majority of shops and storefronts are closed. Thankfully they still have the Seven-mile beach, the String Rays, and Turtle Farm as a basis for Tourism to recover. I had Pumpkin Soup and a Salad for a light lunch. I enjoyed sitting out on deck taking in the view (see photo) with some fresh fruit for dessert. Cabin time for some business work online then a short nap. I did a walkabout during sundown hours then listened to still drum music in the Lobby. I went to the Windjammer for dinner, I had two small Sirloin Strip Steaks and a unique Beet Root Salad with pearl onions. I am enjoying the ship very much as it’s refreshing not having 5600+ guests as I’ve been experiencing on my recent Mardi Gras cruises. It was an enjoyable day on the Carnival Paradise.

Day Four -- Thursday --  April 7th, 2022 -- Cozumel, Mexico 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept fair. We have a late arrival into Cozumel so no rushing this morning…I went up to the Blue Iguana for a Huevos Rancheros with fried eggs, Arepas, Salsa, & Watermelon. The Arepas were the best I have had…a slight crispness on the outside…very nice. I called home once we were docked just after 10:00 am. DW has the Garage remodel under control, they finished the floors this morning. The internet is so helpful when on a cruise...I paid the flooring contractor and also arranged for immediate pickup of the old washer/dryer. I use the Carnival value WiFi when onboard - $51 for this 5-day cruise. We are docked with the Vista and Dream, two Texas ships, and they were sailing full, the taxi line was the longest I have ever seen at Puerto Maya. I used my experience to share a taxi from outside the port and was dropped downtown by 11:30 am ships time or 12:30 local time. Strait to Woody's Bar & Grill my usual Cozumel hangout. I used the fastest internet on the island to get a lot of Travel work completed. I enjoyed a few Bohemia beers and Guacamole & Pico de Gallo as well. (photo above) Texas friends from the Dream stopped by so I had a large frozen margarita with them too…good times. I was back on the ship at 5:30 pm. Tonight I had dinner on lido and they had Sirloin at the carving station so I had a nice cut then had it grilled at the Deli. I had a selection of desserts and ate them out on deck as we had a late sail away. The weather cooled and it was very enjoyable sitting outside this evening. I watched a movie then retired.  It was a FUN and productive port day in Cozumel.

Day Five -- Friday --  April 8th, 2022 —Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept better.  I went to the Seaday Brunch in the Elation Dining Room and had a very nice brunch. at a window table.  I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, French Toast, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, and a Bloody Mary.  I did a walkabout picking up a photo at Pixels and sampling some Key Lime Pie in the Marketplace.  The weather is great and guests are enjoying the outer decks today.
Rolling seas overnight and I slept better.  I went to the Seaday Brunch in the Elation Dining Room and had a very nice brunch. at a window table.  I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, French Toast, Hot Milk, Tomato Juice, and a Bloody Mary.  I did a walkabout picking up a photo at Pixels and sampling some Key Lime Pie in the Marketplace.  The weather is great and guests are enjoying the outer decks today.  I watched two movies on TCM this afternoon, one of the few good TV channels available on Carnival ships.  The ship was really rocking and rolling this afternoon it made walking on deck interesting.  I attended the Platinum/Diamond Gathering in the Queen Mary Lounge, I sat at the Bar and certainly had my share of Cosmopolitans.  I was the high cruiser (most sea days of all guests), the first time I had the most on a cruise out of Florida.  I had a light dinner and retired early as I will be up early for debark.

Debarkation — Saturday --  April 9th, 2022 -- Port of Tampa
Rolling seas overnight, but slept well. I was packing about 6:05 am. Debark meet was scheduled for 7:15 am but I went down about 7:05 and was able to roll right out to the gangway. Walked to the parking garage and hit the road and at the Villa in Pasco County by 8:10 am in time to walk the dog.  Amazingly easy debark.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruise
The ratio of Guests to Crew
The Diamond Gathering
Cozumel Port Day
 

Saturday, March 19, 2022

Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 19, 2022

 Mardi Gras Cruise Review - March 19, 2022 
 
Just The Facts:

Ship:  Mardi Gras…Largest & flagship of the Carnival fleet. 182,000 gross tons. 5282+ capacity.

Ship Captain:  Allessandro Iemmi  -  Hotel Director: Pierre Camilleri - Cruise Director: Lee the CD           
Ports: Port Canaveral - Cozumel, Mexico - Costa Maya, Mexico - Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras
 
This is my seventh cruise on Carnival’s new flagship, Mardi Gras, my 96th Carnival cruise, and my 177th cruise overall.  I am sailing with the DW (Dear Wife) and have friends and colleagues sailing this cruise.
 
Day One -- Saturday --  March 19th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral Embarkation 
We left the Florida Villa about 7:45 am for our drive to Port Canaveral and our 10:00-10:30 am check-in time. Some traffic in Orlando but we arrived at Park-N-Cruise by 10:30 am. They were very busy, but we ran into friends and were able to visit while waiting to be shuttled. We arrived at the pier about 11:15 and went through security and check-in fairly quickly. Having the VeriFLY app helps as well as knowing where to go. We were on board and in our cabin by 11:45 am. Thankfully our cabin was ready for us so we were able to unpack our roll-on bags and set up our cabin. We have a nice balcony on deck 14 aft. Yes, you can hear the Bolt, I did not consider that in choosing a location. We checked in to our Muster Station on deck 7, then went up to Lido Deck for lunch. I had my favorite Big Chicken selections and DW enjoyed a nice salad. Then some rest and nap time in the cabin. Cabin steward Kris brought Ice and I scheduled our cabin cleaning times (~11 am daily). About 4:00 pm the Carnival Elation sailed past and we had our formal Muster announcements before our sail away soon afterward. We went to Summer Landing for drinks and met friends for BBQ dinner. I ordered the Filet Mignon, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Slaw, and Onion Fries. The steak was fantastic, the ribs were just so-so. DW had Macaroni & Cheese and Slaw, she didn’t care for it so she had a Vegetable Lasagne from the Lido Marketplace later. We collected our $50 free-play in the casino and turned it into $50 real chips with $25 free play left. Sweet. We watched the Center Stage Band (photo above) and ran into family members and visited, we will get together with them later. Small world. We sat outside on deck 16 and enjoyed dessert…we had plans but decided to retire early. We do need the rest from a very busy work week at the Villa. It was a very good day with surprises on the Mardi Gras.

Day Two -- Sunday --  March 6th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Very smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. Woke early, did some business, but fell back to sleep until a BOLT test run woke me again about 8:00 am. We met the family for the Sea Day Brunch in the Palm restaurant at about 10:00 am. Very busy this morning, but the girls were more interested in visiting than food so we had a long casual brunch. I ordered the Steak & Eggs, Bacon, Hash Browns, Apple Danish, Tomato Juice, French Toast, and Leche Caliente. It was a very good breakfast. I returned to the cabin and the DW went shopping...I had a nice two-hour nap too. At 3:00 pm I saw another first for me…Cubans in a yellow rubber raft heading towards Florida. It’s a perfect day for an attempt. We were as close to the Cuban coast as allowed and we passed them fairly close on starboard as I was standing out on the balcony. Amazing, I wish them luck…Freedom is precious. We went down to the Alchemy Bar about 4:00 pm for cocktails, it was great seeing the Bartenders again. Daniel prepared two nice cocktails for us an absinth for me. I’m not longer an MDR person, but my friend Kelli arranged a nice table for the four of us with our favorite waiter for 5:00 pm. Early for me but it has become difficult to get good service and seating on a elegant night with 5000+ guests on board. Tonight I ordered the Sicilian Meatball Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara (as a starter), two Broiled Lobster Tails, and Mixed Fruit for dessert. DW ordered the Root Vegetables in a Pie Crust and Chocolate Melting Cake. It was a very good dinner and excellent service. We returned to the cabin and watched the sunset from our balcony and relaxed after dinner. I did a walkabout the ship picking up some water and candy for the cabin then we met Friends & Family in the Brass Magnolia. Instrumental Grooves with Washboard Joe has become one of my all-time favorite musical groups at sea. The Brazilian group is so talented and play a variety of music with a unique Jazz sound. Very enjoyable and we got an encore from them tonight. First time I’ve seen them do that and I caught most of their performances on the previous cruise when my cabin was below the Brass Magnolia. Everyone in the room and our group enjoyed them.  It was a wonderful ending to a great sea day on the Mardi Gras. 

Day Three -- Monday — March 21st, 2022 — Cozumel, Mexico 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I was up early and watched us sail in the Straits of Cozumel. We had room Service delivery this morning so no rush to leave the cabin. We were docked before our scheduled 10:00 am arrival and no other Carnival ships at Puerto Maya…I did miss the Carnival Breeze. It’s a beautiful day in Cozumel so many guests will love a beach day. We met the surprise Family in the Havana outer lounge area about 11:45 to debark the ship. We shared a taxi into San Miguel and proceeded to Woody’s Bar and Grill my Cozumel hangout. Live Music! It was busy as we were arriving later than normal and it was lunchtime. We had a nice table and DW and I started with a proper Mexican Coca-cola as usual. I saw other friends and we soon ordered our Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, & Chips. Very good guacamole today…and becoming harder to find in the USA. I had a lot of business to do today including several cruise bookings for the owner and signing documents for Texas real estate transactions. The others spent time shopping…buying some very unique items. I did have time to get my haircut at Antonio’s Barber Shop. After a visit to the Pharmacia, we took the taxi back to Puerto Maya arriving well before our 6:30 back on board time. After some brief cabin time, we met our travel friends for dinner at La Cucina del Capitano. Tonight I ordered my favorites: the Arancini, Nonna’s Meatballs, a Pasta Pomodoro (as a starter), and the Chicken Parmesan entree. It was excellent as was the service. The only place with tablecloths on the ship too. After dinner and a busy day, we retired to the cabin and I was soon asleep. It was a very productive day in Cozumel and on the Mardi Gras.
 
Day Four -- Tuesday --  March 22nd, 2022 -- Costa Maya, Mexico  
Some rolling seas overnight and I slept well. We were docked by 9:00 am and it's a beautiful sunny day in Roatan. We had a very lazy morning in the cabin enjoying a fruit basket and the wonderful view from our balcony. Some follow-up business to do before leaving the cabin for a walkabout. We had brunch on Lido aft, Big Chicken for me, and a small Salad for the DW. We spent the afternoon on our balcony, we are docked blocking the sun and had a perfect breeze all afternoon. I was able to arrange some work on the ranch and DW read as we both enjoyed the view and weather. DW brought a Blue Iguana Salad down to eat and also some cookies to go with my Coca-cola, perfect day for a balcony. I took a walkabout before sailing away as I wanted to get photos of the Carnival Pride’s aft balconies as she is docked next to us today. I was easily able to see the balcony we will have for two cruises in Europe and the Transatlantic cruise in October (photo above).  The DW wanted to stay in this evening so I went to the Pig & Anchor for BBQ. I ordered the 1/2 Chicken special of the day, St. Louis style Pork Ribs, the pickled vegetables, Potato Fries, and Onion Fries. The chicken was only fair, the ribs were much better tonight and I had the Apple Cobbler for dessert. I watched the last 3 innings of the OU vs. Kentucky Softball game in Summer Landing, I enjoyed watching the OU girls last season when they won the National Championship. They are off to a good start as this win puts their record at 26-0. Afterward, I went to the Alchemy Bar for another nice cocktail from Daniel, then to the 11:00 pm Late Night Comedy Showcase in the Theater with Jorge Solano, and Billy D. Washington. It was a very good show. Barely time for a final Sazerac from the Brass Magnolia before they closed. It was another FUN day on the Mardi Gras.
 
Day Five -- Wednesday --  March 23rd, 2022 -- Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, Honduras
Heavy rolling seas overnight, it was a nice ride. I woke about 8:00 am and we were already docked at Mahogany Bay. Our balcony view is of the Bay and shipwreck side. The weather is beautiful but it will be hot today. We had room service breakfast this morning and no excursions planned outside the port so taking our time. We left the ship just to get in some walking and did the nature trail and walked as far as guests can go within the port property. We stopped at Fat Tuesdays for water, burrito, and a few Salva Vida beers. We walked the shops and craft areas before returning to the ship for cabin and nap time. A very nice nap. We went to the Fortune Teller Bar for cocktails this evening, DW had the Third Eye and I had a Bog Juice. We then met friends for dinner @ 6:30 pm at ChiBang. Tonight I ordered all my favorites: Egg Drop Soup, Green Salad, Kung Pow Chicken entree (very spicy), Beef & Broccoli entree, Hakka Noodles, Grilled Broccoli and the Tres Leches dessert. DW orderd a Salad and a Cheese Quesidilla. It was very good. After dinner, we met the surprise family at Brass Magnolia then went to the feature shows at the Center Stage: The Residency, Classic Magic, and Lovin’ Vegas. We had very good seats and it was a great evening of entertainment including Big Band Music, Singers, Dancers, Aerialist, Light Show, and more. An amazing Las Vegas-style show about Las Vegas. These are the shows not to be missed on the Mardi Gras. It was my third time to see it, but won’t be my last. It was a FUN day in Mahogony Bay and on the Mardi Gras.

Day Six -- Thursday --  March 24th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea  
Rolling seas overnight that became smoother by dawn. I slept well although waking too early @ 6:00 am. I had some travel business to update on recent bookings that I completed before Room Service was delivered @ 8:30 am. It's a beautiful day so guests will enjoy the pool and outer decks. Today is the day I cash in my Casino Chips. I've been using my Diamond benefit $25 free-play that I carried from cruise to cruise to play on the Roulette Wheel the past several cruises. I have been lucky and converted them into $365 in real chips…cashed out this morning…not bad and to myself much more fun than playing Slots. The Diamond Luncheon was at noon in the Flamingo Dining Room, we sat with our good friends and had a very enjoyable lunch. I ordered the Peaches & Greens Salad (the new item-thinly sliced peaches as a base), the NY Strip Steak, & Tres Leches dessert. DW ordered the same salad and the vegetarian Pappardelle Pasta, which was very good, I sampled it. We had a favorite server, Servio Jr., and generous cocktail servers…we were the last guests to leave so yes…we enjoyed the luncheon. Cabin time after lunch. I updated this blog and DW went up to get an Ice Creme. The weather and shaded balcony are ideal for cabin/balcony time this afternoon, but the best was…a Nap. Nice. We met the surprise family in the Brass Magnolia for cocktails at about 7:00 pm. It was DW’s baby sistear's birthday. The entertainers were The Backyard Band, it seems our Washboard guys have an illness in the group, miss them. We had a nice dinner at La Cucina del Capitano, I ordered a lot: a Minestrone Soup, the Arancini, Nonna’s Meatballs, a Pasta Pomodoro (as a starter), and the Veal Marsala entree. It was a great meal. A short walkabout the ship before retiring for the evening. It was a lazy enjoyable day on the Mardi Gras.

Day Seven -- Friday --  March 25th, 2022 -- Fun Day at Sea 

Rolling seas overnight, slept fair, did the up in the night, then slept late routine. I didn’t get around until 10:30 am even after a very restful previous day so a fruit basket breakfast. We did a walkabout, I purchased a Gift Card from Cherry on Top and we saw friends and family. We had lunch at ChiBang. I had both a nice Steak & Chicken Mongolian style stir-fry with nice Vegetables & Noodles and a Mexican Burrito bowl. DW had a Burrito Bowl. I like how they serve both Tortilla Chip and Fried Wonton with Pico de Gallo and an Asian hot sauce. Two worlds combining for the starters. Nice table and servers, we were very pleased with lunch. The weather has cooled only 74° at mid-day, but nice if sunning on deck as many guests are doing today. 5700 guests are enjoying the Mardi Gras this cruise, but it does not seem as crowded as the Sailabration cruise because there are 1300 children this week and enough activities for them that keep them from areas I frequent. Sailabration cruise was a premium price sailing with primarily all adults. I hadn’t had a Guy’s burger this cruise so had one this afternoon, it was cooked perfectly and very good. The Platinum & Diamond party was this afternoon @ 4:00, I didn’t attend but I took advantage of the free drink on my S&S card at the Fortune Teller Bar. We met the surprise family for cocktails and joined them for dinner at their table in the Palm Restaurant (photo above). DW and I ordered the Cobb Salad, I had the Pork Chop entree and DW the Enchiladas. Baked Alaska and the farewell song by the waiters ended the dining experience. We did a short walkabout and I had a final beer at the Pig and Anchor before retiring. It was a FUN final day on the Mardi Gras.

Debarkation -- Saturday --  March 26th, 2022 -- Port Canaveral, Florida 
Smoother seas overnight as we sailed along the coast of Florida and I slept fair. I was up by 5:40 am and we were already alongside the pier so I started my packing process. DW packed previous night. The Diamond guests, only 180 on board this cruise, meet was at 7:30 am at the Punchliner Comedy space, but they were already debarking at 7:20 when we got to deck 6. We were out and on the parking shuttle strait away.  I love Park-N-Cruise.  On the road at 8:00 am.  We stopped at Farmers Daughter in Brooksville about 10:00 am for brunch, then onto Spring Hill to pick-up the dog and GD (grand-daughter).  Home at the Villa in Meadow Oaks about noon.
 
HIGHLIGHTS
Sailing with the DW
Sailing with Surprise Family and Friends
Instrumental Grooves with Washboard Joe 
Lovin' Vegas Show at Center Stage
The Themed Bars: Alchemy, Fortune Teller, & the Brass Magnolia
Good Fast Food: Big Chicken, Guy’s Burgers